THE Patriots for Economic Progress has noted with regret the continued failure by President Edgar Lungu and the Patriot Front government to arrest and bring to book PF cadres who shot and killed Lawrence Banda during campaigns for a by-election in Kaoma.
PeP leader Sean Tembo noted that Banda’s death had come barely a year since National Democratic Congress youth chairman Obed Kasongo was killed under similar circumstances during the Roan parliamentary by-election in Luanshya and the culprits were also never brought to book.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress, we find it totally unacceptable that citizens of this Republic should continue to lose lives in the name of politics, simply because they belong to the opposition, with no effort by law enforcement agencies to bring the PF members involved to book. There is no doubt in our minds that President Lungu is using his position as Head of State to protect and shield PF members that are involved in these murders, from prosecution,” Tembo said.
He reminded President Lungu that citizens elected him as Head of State and bestowed on him the powers that come with that office, not intended to be used for purposes of shielding PF members from prosecution for murders that have been committed.
“Additionally, upon ascending to the presidency, Mr Lungu swore to uphold the law of this Republic. We wish to remind President Lungu that the laws of this Republic require that all murder-accused persons must be arrested and taken to court. Therefore, by continuing to protect and shield the PF members that murdered Mr Lawrence Banda in Kaoma and Mr Obed Kasongo in Luanshya, President Lungu is not only being complicit to these murders but is also breaking his oath of office to uphold the laws of the land,” he said.
Tembo further said his party has noted with deep regret that whenever President Lungu’s duo roles as PF and Republican President come into conflict, he does not hesitate to allow his interests as PF president to prevail over his interests as Republican President.
He said it was fair to state that President Lungu had abandoned his duties and responsibilities as Republican President but had continued to embrace the rights and privileges that come with the position.
“Fellow countrymen and women, it is a well established fact that any person who neglects their duties and responsibilities while embracing their rights and privileges, is an irresponsible person. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we have no doubt in our minds that President Lungu is an irresponsible president and if he is left to his own devices, he has the potential and the capacity to drag this country into chaos and anarchy. His decision to protect and shield PF members who murdered Mr Obed Kasongo in Luanshya and also murdered Mr Lawrence Banda in Kaoma is probably his first step towards dragging this country into a cesspool of lawlessness and chaos. As Zambians, the question that we must ask ourselves is whether it is acceptable to allow the narrow political ambitions of one individual, even if that individual happens to be a Republican President, to drag the entire nation into lawlessness and chaos,” he said.
Tembo said PeP could tolerate President Lungu’s other shortcomings but shall never bear his appetite to use political violence and loss of lives as part of his wider political strategy for 2021.
He further stated that Zambia had the most competent police officers in the region and if they were allowed to operate freely, they would have long arrested and prosecuted the PF members involved in the murder of innocent citizens.
“We further wish to take this opportunity to inform the Zambian people that they should never buy the false perception that the police are to blame for failing to arrest and prosecute the PF members who murdered Mr Obed Kasongo in Luanshya and Mr Lawrence Banda in Kaoma,” said Tembo.
“As a matter of fact, one of the only reason why the police have not yet brought these individuals to book is because the accused PF members enjoy the protection of the Head of State. Zambians should further not take seriously the public directives that President Lungu often gives to the Inspector General of Police to stop political violence. Such public directives are issued for window-dressing purposes only and constitute an insult to the intelligence of the Zambian people.”